This has been some week of deep thinking about food.
First, I went to Boston University’s free conference on the Future of Food.
There were a lot of wonderful thinkers there for the morning sessions that I attended. But the thing that has stuck with me the most was a comment that had nothing to do with food. Satish Kumar, a former Jain monk, shared some wisdom he learned from begging (this is how monks subsist). He said that if someone gave him food, he was grateful. If someone didn’t give him food, he was also grateful – because it was an opportunity to fast.
Wow. Chew on that for a few minutes. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been irked by not getting what I want when I want it. I’ll try practicing gratitude next time and see what happens.
On Tuesday, I got Michael Pollan‘s autograph. He was in West Roxbury, Mass., of all places. The Friends of the Library there had knocked themselves out with a month-and-a-half-long program centered on Pollan’s book “In Defense of Food.” I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when 600 people showed up! It was standing room only in the back of the school auditorium. He basically repeated the ideas he shares in his book (i.e., “Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”) while we were all distracted by a man in a blue blazer who wandered the stage taking endless photos of first Pollan and then the audience with a point-and-shoot camera. It was so bizarre it was almost performance art. But I’m sure the Friends of the Library are pleased with the 248 digital shots they have of Pollan at the podium.
Anway, Pollan did say his next book due out this fall will be on cooking – an art and an enjoyment he feels many Americans have lost. (But apparently not the masses who have bought his books or showed up for his talk. Pollan was given a standing ovation both before and after he spoke.)
I lined up to get my book signed. But I was too shy to point out that his publisher had excerpted my review in the paperback version of “In Defense of Food” that I wrote for The Christian Science Monitor. Next time (right).
On Thursday, after wandering around various food blogs, I settled on this recipe for asparagus-tofu-kale-cashew stir fry from 101cookbooks.com. After pumping myself up to eat kale, the end result was delish (and made enough for several meals) but I admit I didn’t know what “hoisin sauce” was. I got a few store clerks to help me hunt the shelves at the little Co-op where I shop until we found it. But I reluctantly put it back. You see, I read ingredients on packages. And this one said: “corn syrup.”
No, no, no.
After seeing the documentary “King Corn” at the Future of Food conference last weekend. I just couldn’t do it. So I substituted plain soy sauce with a teaspoon of corn starch to thicken it.
Wait, did I just say “corn starch”?